In the wake of the inexcusable shooting death of 14-year-old Dajae Coleman, some observers have claimed that Evanston has grown increasingly less safe in recent years.
But Evanston Police crime statistics as reported to state and federal authorities indicate that claim is false.
Here’s a chart, based on police department annual reports, showing the count of violent crime incidents over the past 10 years.
Total violent crime incidents were down 42 percent in 2011 compared to 2002.
Of course, as the chart shows, crime levels do flucuate. And for this year through August, violent crime was up nearly 12 percent from the same period in 2011.
But until Coleman was shot, Evanston had made it through the year so far without a single homicide. The ciy has experienced between one and five homicides a year over the last decade, with an annual average of just over two per year.
No level of violent crime is acceptable, of course. But as we think about how to respond to violence, it’s important to understand the facts about crime trends.